What is Blockchain?
An electronic record of all cryptocurrency transactions is known as Blockchain technology. It keeps expanding when fresh blocks of recordings are added to it as “finished” chunks. Each block includes transaction information, a timestamp, and a cryptographic hash of the one before it. Bitcoin nodes use it to distinguish between authentic Bitcoin transactions and efforts to spend previously spent currencies again.
It is utilized for purposes other than cryptocurrencies, including education, logistics management, smart contracts, and others. Every node receives a copy of the blockchain when they join the network, and it is downloaded automatically. A distributed database that is transparent, secure, and resistant to outages is what Blockchain is basically. There are several possible uses for Blockchain in healthcare and other industries, which are being investigated by numerous sectors of the global economy. IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, and others are some of the leading businesses utilizing this technology.
How can Blockchain help Healthcare?
Blockchain is distributed as opposed to conventional ledgers; therefore, it is not kept in a single spot. As a result, it is safer and less susceptible to hacking. Medical records, medication, and test results are just a few of the types of data that can be stored on a Blockchain. Patients have more access to personal information thanks to Blockchain’s decentralized nature. They are in control of who has access to this information and have the right to cancel that access at any moment.
Blockchain also enables visibility and accountability in the medical industry and supply chain management. The transit of medications from the manufacturer to the patient, for instance, may be tracked using blockchain. This would make it easier to prevent the sale of fake drugs and ensure that patients obtain the right prescriptions. Blockchain technology has the power to completely change the healthcare industry by making it more safe, effective, and patient-focused.
Case Study: How is blockchain used in healthcare?
In order to determine whether blockchain technology may be used to safely transmit medical records, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, started testing it in 2015. In order to create a system that would let patients manage access to medical information, BIDMC teamed up with the company MedRec.
On a small number of patients, the method was successfully tested in 2016. BIDMC started collaborating with other institutions in 2017 to test the feasibility of using blockchain to share medical records. Hospitals including the Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, and Mount Sinai Health System are a part of the Hashed Health pilot initiative. If the experiment is successful, additional institutions could join it, and eventually, a nationwide network of accessible medical records could be built.
Healthcare firms will use blockchain extensively by 2022 to transfer data among various platforms and devices. This will enhance patient care and data accuracy. The creation of digital contracts between patients and healthcare providers will likewise be done via the blockchain. These agreements will aid in ensuring that both patients and providers get compensated for their services and receive the treatment they require. Blockchain ultimately has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector by enhancing data exchange, raising transparency, and lowering costs.
Benefits of using Blockchain in Healthcare
The use of blockchain in healthcare has a wide range of possible advantages. Among these benefits are:
Compared to traditional databases, blockchain is more secure because it is decentralized and encrypted. This makes it perfect for keeping private medical information.
Patients have control over who has access to medical information in terms of privacy. This helps to protect their privacy by giving them more access to personal information.
Blockchain technology allows for the traceability of the transfer of medications and other medical goods. This would make it easier to prevent the sale of fake drugs and ensure that patients obtain the right prescriptions.
Healthcare processes could be improved and made more effective with the help of blockchain. For instance, storing electronic health records on a blockchain platform would make them more shareable and accessible.
Challenges of using Blockchain in Healthcare
Even though there are a lot of potential uses of blockchain in the healthcare industry, there are several obstacles that must be overcome. Several of these difficulties include:
Interoperability: In order to be fully effective, blockchain technology must be able to work with current healthcare systems. This is a problem because blockchain technology is still in its beginning and many healthcare institutions are reluctant to accept it.
Scalability: For blockchain to be used widely, it must also be scalable. This presents a problem because blockchain network size might affect performance.
Regulation: Prior to blockchain technology being widely used in the healthcare industry, regulatory issues must be resolved. Concerns exist, for instance, regarding the security of patient data if it is kept on a decentralized network.
Despite these difficulties, blockchain offers a great deal of potential to revolutionize healthcare.
The Future of Blockchain in Healthcare
The future of blockchain technology in healthcare is very bright. Despite these difficulties, technology offers enormous promise to enhance healthcare’s security, privacy, and effectiveness. We’ll probably see more innovation in this area as more health systems start to test and use Blockchain technology.
There is a profusion of possible applications for blockchain technology in the medical field. Blockchain technology has the potential to completely transform the healthcare sector, from strengthening security and privacy to bettering data exchange and traceability.